Prisoner Cites 'Seinfeld's' Festivus Religion - And Wins!
A prison sentence is really no excuse to let oneself go. Former bodybuilder and convicted drug dealer Malcolm Alarmo King knows this much. His lesson book? Why, "Seinfeld's" Festivus religion, of course.
Festivus, the holiday first made famous on "Seinfeld," is a secular holiday that includes an unadorned aluminum pole and the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength" as a unique form of religious celebration.
Inmate King somehow successfully argued for a prison meal change by citing "Seinfeld's" Festivus. Is seems Orange County jail officials reserve kosher meals for inmates that cite a religious need. 38-year-old King was unhappy with the salami-based prison food so naturally he cited Festivus as his religious backing for Kosher food. And he won, according to MSNBC. Not only did King receive Kosher meals while serving his time, he also gets double portions.
So, basically, for King to display his feats of strength, he had to first air his grievances to a judge.
"Another Festivus Miracle!" as Kramer certainly would say.
Kosher meals are more expensive than regular prison food, which is the only explanation behind requiring a religious backing for the meal request. In granting the meal request, King's attorney not only had to request the religious-based meal but also prove that Festivus was, in fact, a religion his client followed. Sure sounds like what George had to do with his boss, Mr. Kruger, of Kruger Industrial Smoothing.
Under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, states are required to avoid imposing substantial burdens on the exercise of religion for prisoners. Most commonly this comes in the form of food and the ability to worship.
Perhaps that best part of this story has nothing to do with Festivus at all but his initial (failed) attempt at the meals. Malcolm Alarmo King initially cited "Healthism" (yes, that's the word health with an ism attached) when the judge inquired about his religious leanings. After admitting that this was a fake religion, he was denied the Kosher meals. In the end, Festivus won out and King got to avoid cured meats while serving out his time.
You have to wonder if the California judge that legitimized the "Seinfeld"-created Festivus religion will have an aluminum pole up in his house on December 23, Festivus' officially-recognized day of celebration.
- Festivus For The Rest of Us: OC Jail Style (The OC Register)
- A Prisoner Seeks Vegan Food in Prison: Why Refusing Him is Both Illegal and Foolish (FindLaw's Writ)
- Hard Times: Prisons Slash Food Costs To Save Money (FindLaw's Knowledgebase)
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